Gazetteer of New York, 1860 & 1861 page 101
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AGE I CULTURE.

The climate of the State is adapted to the cultivation of most of the crops and fruits of the
temperate zone. The improved lands comprise a little more than one-half of the entire area of the
State, and of these 37 per cent, is devoted to pasturage and 25 per cent, is occupied by meadow
lands. The principal crops, in the order of relative amount, are oats, corn, wheat, buckwheat, rye,
and barley, together occupying 37 per cent, of the cultivated lands,—leaving 1 per cent, for
the minor crops and gardens. The northern cos. of the State and the highland regions along the
s. border and upon the Hudson are much better adapted to pasturage than tillage; and the people
in these sections are almost exclusively engaged in stock and sheep raising and in dairying.
Little more grain is raised than is strictly necessary for a proper rotation of crops; and the greater
part of the grain for home consumption is imported from other sections of the country. The low
lands that surround the great lakes and occupy the greater portion of the surface in the w. part of
the State are best adapted to grain growing. Several sections of the State are found peculiarly
adapted to particular products. The Mohawk Yalley intervales have been long almost exclusively
devoted to the cultivation of broom corn. The Chemung Yalley, parts of Onondaga co. and
several other sections are becoming known as tobacco raising districts. Hops are extensively
cultivated in Madison, Oneida, Otsdgo, and Schoharie cos. The Hudson Yalley below the High¬
lands, the n. shore of Long Island, and the s. extremity of several of the lake valleys in the cen¬
tral portion of the State are well adapted to the culture of grapes. Maple sugar is largely pro¬
duced in the northern cos. and in the central highland districts.. Upon Long Island and in West¬
chester large sections are devoted to the cultivation of vegetables for the New York market. The
people of Orange, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess cos. are largely engaged in fur¬
nishing the city of New York with milk.1

Tlie Tew York State Agricultural Society was formed by a convention held at Al¬
bany in Feb.. 1832 ; but for several years it received no support from the State and held no regular
fairs. In 1841 the society was re-organized, and measures were adopted for raising funds and hold¬
ing annual fairs. On May 5 of that year, an act was passed by the Legislature, appropriating $8,000
for the encouragement of agriculture, $700 of which was to go to the State Society, and the re¬
mainder was to be divided among the co. societies in the ratio of Assembly representation. This
appropriation has been continued until the present time. The society is required annually to re¬
port to the Legislature a full account of its proceedings, and such facts concerning the agricul¬
tural condition of the State as may be of general interest. The volumes of Transactions are
published by the State, and are widely distributed among the farming population. The annual
fairs are held in different parts of the State, and are largely attended.2 They usually succeed in

buted to excite emulation among the producers. These fairs
were generally held semi-annually, upon fixed days, under the
direction of “Governors and Bulers,” appointed in colonial
times by the Governor, and afterward by the judges of the co.
courts. The expenses were defrayed by tolls, usually 1 per
cent., upon the commodities sold, half of which was paid by the
buyer and half by the seller.

The Society for the Promotion of Agriculture, Arts, and Manu¬
factures was instituted Feb. 26, 1791, and incorp. March 12,
1793. For more efficient action, it in'1801 divided the State into
as many agricultural districts
as there were cos., in each of
which a secretary was appointed, to convene the members of the
society within his district, inquire into the state of agriculture
and manufactures, receive communications and arraDge and
transmit them to the President of the society. The transactions
of this body were printed by the State, and the society numbered
among its members nearly every person of eminence throughout
the State. Its charter expired in 1804; and its corporate powers
were revived and continued April 2 of that year, under the
name of the Society for the Promotion of the Useful Arts. The
affairs of the new body were managed by a council of 9 members,
and State patronage was continued in the printing of its Trans¬
actions. In 1808-12 liberal premiums were offered for the best
cloths of household manufacture, a part of which were awarded
by the co. judge and a part by this society. The samples, upon
which $10,000 were thus paid, are still preserved in the library
of the Albany Institute. After being once extended, the Society
for Promoting Agricultural Arts was superseded, in part, by a
Board of Agriculture, but continued as a local institution of
Albany until merged, with the “Albany Lyceum of Natural His¬
tory,” in the “Albany Institute,” in 1829. The latter has most
of the books, papers, and effects of its predecessors; and tracing
back through its change it is the oldest scientific society in the
State. “An act to improve the agriculture of this State,”

101


1

Hay is most largely produced in St. Lawrence, Oneida, Che¬
nango, Otsego, Chautauqua, Delaware, and Orange counties;
wheat, in Livingston, Monroe, Genesee, Niagara,Ontario, and Jef¬
ferson counties; oats, in Onondaga, Montgomery, Oneida, Cayuga,
and Otsego; rye, in Columbia, Bensselaer, Ulster, Orange,
Albany, Saratoga, and Washington; barley, in Jefferson, Onon¬
daga, Ontario, Cayuga, and Wayne; buckwheat, in Schoharie,
Montgomery, Otsego, Saratoga, and Tioga; corn, in Onondaga,
Cayuga, Monroe, Wayne, Oneida, and Ontario; and potatoes, in
Washington, Monroe, Oneida, St. Lawrence, Bensselaer, and
Franklin. The counties having the greatest number of cows
are St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Oneida, Orange, Chenango, Her¬
kimer, and Chautauqua; and the greatest number of sheep,
Ontario, Livingston, Steuben, Cayuga, Washington, Wyoming,
Monroe, and Genesee. The counties that produce the greatest
quantity of butter are St. Lawrence, Delaware, Chenango, Jef¬
ferson, Chautauqua, Orange, and Otsego; and the greatest
amount of cheese, Herkimer, Oneida, Jefferson, Madison, Erie,
Cattaraugus, St. Lawrence, and Otsego.

2

The earliest agricultural exhibition on record within the
present limits of the State was a cattle fair, held at New Am¬
sterdam, Oct. 15, 1641. An act passed Nov. 11, 1692, entitled
“An act for settling fairs and markets in each respective city
and co. throughout this province,” remained in force until re¬
pealed by the State Legislature, March 12, 1788. A special act
was passed for the fairs of Albany, Cumberland, and Tryon cos.,
March 8, 1773, but scarcely took effect before the Devolution.
Acts applying to particular towns were passed by the earlier
State Legislatures; but the custom of holding fairs soon fell into
disuse. These fairs were more properly market days; no pre¬
miums were offered, and ho inducements to competition existed
beyond the ordinary stimulus of trade. The products of farm
culture being placed side by side, their comparative excellence
was left to the decision of the purchaser, which doubtless contri¬


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